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The Flame Virus

The full story has yet to be told, but even talk of the so-called Flame virus carries an important message. Certainly the widespread belief that Israel was behind this and earlier computer viruses that wreaked havoc on Iran’s nuclear efforts – a notion hinted at by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon – should be taken as evidence that all things being equal, left to its own devices Israel is quite capable of taking care of itself. But there is an added dimension.

As The Jerusalem Post put it, the Flame virus “effectively turns every computer it infects into the ultimate spy. It can turn on PC microphones to record conversations taking place near the computer, take screenshots, log instant messaging chats, gather data files and remotely change settings on computers.” The New York Times reported that the computers of high-ranking Iranian officials appear to have been penetrated.

The bottom line here is that the truth about Iran’s nuclear program is doubtless no great secret to the U.S. and Israel, a fact that looms large now that the Obama administration has effectively cut Iran some slack by agreeing to an extended period of negotiations. The obvious question: If the U.S. knows Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapons capacity, why doesn’t it just come out and say so? Apparently the reverse is true, which is why the U.S. is trying to get Iran to mend its ways.

The last thing Iranian leaders want is for their country to suffer an American attack. Given the implications of the Flame virus, the Iranian leadership can’t exactly be sleeping easily these nights. The time is now for President Obama to draw a dateline in the sand for Iranian transparency.

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